Tissue growth control and mechanics during development


  • Dr Nicolas Tapon

    The Francis Crick Institute

Project summary

How each cell in a developing animal ‘knows’ to stop growing and dividing when the correct body size and shape has been reached is of fundamental importance to our understanding of diseases such as cancer. Systemic cues acting at the organism level, such as nutrient availability, strongly influence final organ size, as do signalling molecules involved in patterning, which couple tissue growth control with pattern formation. Recently, it has been shown that as the tissue grows, changes in physical forces might act as a developmental timer that specifies the onset of growth arrest. The conserved Hippo pathway, discovered in Drosophila genetic screens for tumour suppressors, is a good candidate to mediate the effect of mechanical forces on size control. Dr Tapon will investigate when and how the Hippo pathway is regulated during development and the mechanisms by which the cellular mechanical environment influences developmental growth arrest via Hippo signalling.